St. Sophia Debutante Ball Shines in Beverly Hills

January 31, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA – The 52nd Saint Sophia Philoptochos Debutante Ball was an elegant and glamorous affair that took place at the world famous Beverly Wilshire Hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills, CA overlooking Rodeo Drive.

Originally, this was named the Coronation Ball and started in 1950 as a means of social interaction and fellowship for first-generation Greek Orthodox immigrant youths and was sponsored by the Hellenic Orthodox Youth of America that is now the Greek Orthodox Youth of America (GOYA). Young ladies were nominated and the most popular was elected queen, and she was accompanied by her royal court at the ball. “My dad Ernie Anast and his friend John Pappas were on couple of the coronation ball committees” said Katrina Anast Beers, who is now a co-chair of the Ball. “As the ladies grew older and joined the Philoptochos Society, the mission of the Ball changed from a social gathering to a fundraising event benefiting the various charities. The transformation into the Debutante Ball was a natural progression.” It started as an annual event in 1967 and since 2001 it has become a biannual event with participating parishes originating from all of Southern California.

This year’s Ball introduced sixteen young women from eight parishes who have distinguished themselves in academia, the arts, and most importantly, philanthropy. Some of the young ladies continue on a path previously taken by another member of their family, some start a new tradition.

The National Philoptochos Society is the national philanthropic organization of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and was established in 1931 by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras. Today the society has 26,000 members and more than 400 active chapters nationwide. In 1945, the Saint Sophia Philoptochos Society joined the National organization and created the Greek War Relief Program and a special Red Cross Unit. They also established two fundraising events, the Debutante Ball and The Mother’s Day Luncheon and Fashion Show, which are the two major fundraisers for the Society.

Beers, who was a debutante herself, told TNH that the Ball’s core principals are the same as those of Philoptochos: “community service and assistance to the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the orphans and anyone who wants the help or our church.” Some of the many charities who benefit from the generosity of the Philoptochos is the Children’s Medical Fund, Kids’ n Cancer Camps, Saint Nicholas Ranch, The Ecumenical Patriarchate, Orthodox Christian Missions, and locally, the Los Angeles Mission and Lunches for Homeless Children in Hollywood. If some people feel that debutante balls are outdated, Beers is not one of them. “Some may feel that way but I don’t. This is a wonderful opportunity to bring families together and strengthen the young ladies and their families’ commitment to philanthropy.”

She has fond memories of her own time as a debutante. “It is a very special feeling to be presented on the arm of your father and receive your family’s recognition for your efforts. Not to mention the appreciation of hundreds of people who are seen you for the first time at the ball.” The evening began with Beers and co-Chair Georgia Kezios welcoming the attendees to the elegantly decorated ballroom at the hotel and Emcee Perry Lambert, an accomplished singer and comedian, introduced the debutantes and their fathers.

After the presentation, the debutantes danced with their fathers and their escorts to a beautifully choreographed Second Waltz by Shostakovich. Greek music by the Olympians followed. The event requires a long preparation and a substantial financial and time commitment by the debutantes, their families and their escorts. Because the event is an elegant affair “the venue selection is very important, it has to be a draw,” Beers said. The Beverly Wilshire Hotel certainly fits the definition as the hotel has gathered international attention since 1990 as the site of the acclaimed romantic comedy Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. That is why “keeping the budget to the minimum and at the same time making the event memorable is a real challenge,” Kezios said. Ensuring proper and fair seating arrangements for the ball was Cynthia Spears as a reservations chairwoman for the second ball in a row and a former debutante herself. In regards to the future of the debutante ball Co-chair Beers said “My hope is that this tradition and synergy of faith, philanthropy and family will continue and flourish.”

After chairing the last five balls, Beers said that “I am looking forward to hand over the reins to a new leader. As it is our tradition I will be happy to be an advisor to a feature chairperson as past chairpersons were to me.” When she saw the young ladies saying the Lord’s Prayer before they were presented to calm their nerves she was touched “and that to me is a testament of faith and that is what this tradition is all about.” Visiting the cathedral’s web site stsophia.org/ministries/philoptohos you can find more details about the history and philanthropic efforts of the society.


BOSTON – The Maliotis Cultural Center organized an event on December 1 on the topic ‘Theology and Art in Dialogue’ featuring as speaker Dr.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Warnock or Walker? Georgia Runoff to Settle Last Senate Seat

ATLANTA — Georgia voters on Tuesday are set to decide the final Senate contest in the country, choosing between Democratic Sen.

A former Theranos executive learns Wednesday whether he will be punished as severely as his former lover and business partner for peddling the company's bogus blood-testing technology that duped investors and endangered patients.

LONDON — Microsoft agreed Wednesday to make the hit video game Call of Duty available on Nintendo for 10 years should its $69 billion purchase of game maker Activision Blizzard go through — an apparent attempt to fend off objections from rival Sony.

BOSTON – The most recent Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was convened at its regular meeting on November 27 and 28 – it is customary for it to meet shortly before the Thronal Feast of St.

ATHENS - Finance Minister Christos Staikouras was in New York on Wednesday, where he will stay until Friday to take part in the 24th Annual Capital Link Invest in Greece Forum and hold a series of meetings with representatives of investment and banking groups.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.